Toy Story That Time Forgot Review


Toy Story has had a good run of animated shorts and movies so far but now it’s time to see if this latest one holds up. This time the heroes have to do battle with some wild toys and the fact that we got some actual action scenes here is quite impressive. The short is held back by a romance subplot which will make you cringe a bit but once you get past that, the rest of the special is on point. It’s a fun little adventure and you should breeze through it.

The story starts with Bonnie being invited to her friend’s place to hang out. When she gets there, she finds out that he has gotten addicted to video games and he quickly gets her on them as well. She tosses her toys aside to have fun here but Woody and friends quickly find out that this place isn’t a very nice area. The Battle Dinosaurs don’t realize that they are actually toys much like Buzz from the first film and so they’ve built a violent arena where they take toys down for the count. The heroes have a dinosaur of their own in Trixie but will she be able to stop these guys?

The standout character as always is Buzz here with how he is quick to fight back and actually does well against the villain. Unfortunately Woody isn’t quite as skilled and ends up holding them back. I was still just surprised at how we had a real action sequence so that was just a lot of fun. It also added to the sense of danger that was present during the special. These dinosaurs were not holding anything back and lived up to their name as the Battlesaurs.

The main fighter on their side was Maximus and he gets a solid role here. He has completely bought into the whole arena atmosphere and seems to have been winning every match for a while now. I doubt any of the heroes could beat him in a straight fight which is why they ultimately need to go for a more emotional approach and to bring in outside help. He’s good as an antagonist but as a hero he can be extremely cheesy. He goes a bit over the top with the whole romance with Trixie.

As mentioned earlier, that’s my main issue with this. The romance isn’t handled well and feels like something out of Scooby Doo. These dinosaurs just met each other and the dialogue is very stilted. Keeping that out of the special would have been a really good idea if you ask me. It’s the only weak point of the special. It also doesn’t let Trixie really get to show her stuff as the lead because this plot is slowing her down. She’s very oblivious to everything during the whole special but in her defense, everyone seems rather oblivious the whole time.

As for the villain mastermind: Cleric. Well he serves his purpose well enough. The guy wants to build his evil empire and has done a really good job of it. He’s hidden the signs that would cause his followers to lose trust in him and has built a rather solid atmosphere for himself all things considered. Considering that the kid could show up at any time and ruin things, the Cleric really showed a lot of guts with this plan. Finally you have Angel Kitty as the mysterious new character here to drop some wisdom on the other toys. She was a fun enough character even if her gimmick gets old a little quickly. One note characters will always need a little something extra to stay interesting so if she ever appears again they’ll probably need to do something more with her.

Not surprisingly, the animation here is as good as ever. You couldn’t really put a big difference between the special and the full movies. Not to say that there is no difference, but it’s close enough where you’re pleased with how the special looks. There isn’t much of a soundtrack to be found here which is too bad but maybe they can squeeze one in next time. A really solid rock theme for the battles is a good opportunity for some music after all. Aside from the romance the writing is on point as well so on a technical level the special is sound. Throw in that I liked the idea of the Battlesaurs and you can see why this is a win.

Overall, That Time Forgot is a bit of an odd title. I feel like it should be “The toys that time forgot” or something like that. As it is, the title just doesn’t feel grammatically correct. Still, it’s a fun special and one that does justice to the Toy Story brand. You’ll have a good time here even as the film feels like it’s over just when it has begun. You could easily make a whole 2 hour film for this premise since Bonnie would probably be playing video games for that long and you could have the toys move their way through the arena by winning some battles. A lot of potential there for sure. Well, we’ll see what Toy Story short comes up next.

Overall 6/10

Howl From Beyond the Fog Review


Well, this film was definitely not quite what I had imagined based on the title. It’s going for a very retro action figure type style. At first when you see the characters appear you’re wondering if maybe there was a budget issue so they had to use mannequins for the characters. Then it hits you that this is actually the style. I’m not a big fan of stop motion and it’s one of the animation styles I would put below CGI. It didn’t do the short film any favors this time around.

The movie introduces us to Eiji. He has moved back to his hometown after news came out that his brother had been destroyed. His cousin Takiri is there but she’s supposed to be dead so Eiji can’t mention that and his mother is also around. The biggest secret though is that they effectively have a secret Kaiju in the backyard. This will come in handy since a bunch of thugs are trying to force them off the land. When in doubt, it’s time to call in the Kaiju! Can this monster save the day?

Unfortunately the humans don’t make it easy on him. It’s always pretty annoying when the Kaiju is doing pretty well only for someone to say “Stop!!” and distract the Kaiju as he gets blasted by the villains. That happens here quite directly and unfortunately the Kaiju isn’t too durable this tie around. A quick shot is already able to deal some pretty decent damage to the point where the Kaiju nearly gets knocked out. It was concerning but the Kaiju has a lot of determination which is good.

The design’s not bad, I guess I would say it looks a lot like a Brontosaurus. It’s got a long neck and just has that kind of shape. While it doesn’t have Godzilla’s fire attacks, it does manage to use a heavy breath attack by inhaling the fumes. I wonder if that might have even been a tribute to the Atomic Breath given that it acts like true breath rather than an energy blast. It was cool to see though since it gives us some action.

So the movie isn’t very long at 35 minutes. It really picks up once the monster action gets going, but until you get there it does have some issues. It just feels like the movie isn’t very interesting without the Kaiju. You don’t really get to like any of the characters all that much and they don’t get to stand out with the brief time they have. When a film’s this short you really have to either develop the characters real quickly or you have to just focus on the Kaiju I suppose. The thing is, this is still more of a character driven story which is problematic when the characters have no time to be introduced.

For the first half you’ll probably end up being a little bored here. So you’re waiting for the second half which is more fun but it takes a little bit to get there when you compare it to the overall length of the movie. Finally, the animation itself gets in the way here. It’s just hard to find this style all that hype or engaging. If you’re a fan of the style then you’ll like it, but otherwise it’s just very jarring as you’re trying to get into the story. None of the effects look as real as you’d like.

This style really works when you throw a lot of humor into the mix. Think of Robot Chicken or something like that. The animation isn’t supposed to look great but you don’t really mind because you are laughing the whole time. That doesn’t work with this short because it is played 100% seriously. You won’t be grinning or smiling at any point because it’s not really that type of film. Unfortunately you can’t pull off a more serious type of story with this style or at least, it will be very difficult to do so.

Overall, Howl from Beyond the Fog is an interesting idea but this was just the wrong medium to do this. At its core it’s a story about a Kaiju living in the backwoods and defending the main characters from danger. It’s seen as a scary entity by most but the main characters know that it’s actually a good guy deep down. That’s a classic kind of story but one where you just aren’t able to get invested into this time. If we ever get a remake or something like that I think there would definitely be a lot of potential. Otherwise, I would say to pass on this one.

Overall 4/10

Sonic Colors: Rise of the Wisps Review


It’s always hype when Sega decides to give us a cool Sonic animated short. This one is in the Sonic Colors part of the verse. It’s a phrase I never thought I would see again. I was never a big fan of the Wisp mechanics since I much prefer to just be doing my own thing at all times with Sonic speed but if you’ve got it you might as well use it right? This special is around 10-12 minutes long and features Metal Sonic so you can’t go wrong.

The basic plot is that Eggman has his two robots: Cubot and Orbot kidnapping Wisps across the planet. Sonic and Tails decide that the mad man must be stopped. He’s already captured a lot of the Wisps across the planet so saving them all will be difficult. Additionally, Eggman has brought in his most powerful robot of all time…Metal Sonic. Can Sonic take down this robot or are the Wisps doomed?

Sonic has his signature humor which is always fun. The guy’s just a great character and even with only a few minutes to spare in the special you can tell that these guys really get the core of his character. Sonic may not like to sit around and listen to long stories but he is quick to act. Metal Sonic may be a tad faster in base but Sonic has a lot more experience in combat and uses that to his advantage.

He also has the Wisps at the ready and uses them to get a pretty good advantage in their battle. Sonic reminds us that the powers of friendship are always a mighty ally to have on your side at all times. Even at the end of the special he is looking at the big picture while Tails is beginning to panic. It’s why Sonic is always seen as such a natural leader.

Tails doesn’t look at good with the panicking but usually that is the sidekick’s role. You panic a lot which by extension makes the main hero look even better. It’s all part of the plan after all. Tails peaked in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and since then the new continuity hasn’t used him quite as well. His gadgets always do come in handy though.

As for Metal Sonic, this is one of those versions that is more on the mindless side. I wouldn’t say he is completely mindless or anything like that but the guy is more instinct than anything else. He just wants to win and prove he is the fastest but don’t expect a lot of strategy or anything like that. Still, it is great to see him as always. He definitely gives Sonic a run for his money.

Cubot and Orbot are decent. I prefer them as Eggman’s mindless minions to some of the other iterations. Changing one of their voice boxes to the announcer’s sound effects felt very odd though. Maybe they couldn’t get the voice actor back in time for this special? That would be my guess at least but the whole announcer thing works well enough. Just watch your volume if you’re on headphones because it can be a bit on the loud side.

As for the Wisps, I’m still not much of a fan but they do end up helping when it counts which is good. It was nice to see them actually contribute and even try to free everyone before Sonic showed up. It at least meant that the Wisps were resourceful and weren’t just going to wait and be saved. Now that’s what I like to see.

The animation’s not bad. It’s definitely good for a Youtube exclusive. The colors are smooth and we get some nice speed effects. It’s going for a bit of an old school cutscene look. I like the direction it’s going in but for a full show I would definitely like to clean up the animation a bit. This special has full voice acting which is really cool so that definitely gets a thumbs up from me.


Overall, This special is under 15 minutes so there isn’t a whole lot more to talk about. It’s pretty fun and really feels like it is over in the blink of an eye. The writing is solid and most importantly, they really got Sonic’s personality across. He’s really a hero you can count on and who is always ready to have the team at his back. He isn’t trying to do things solo if it’ll put anyone in danger. It’ll be cool if we get more specials like this.

Overall 7/10

The Goddess of Spring Review


It’s time to look at a Disney short based on a very dark Greek myth. I remember having to read that myth over and over again as part of a deconstruction and it’s definitely super twisted the way most of those myths are. I never liked the Greek Myths because they all go way over the top on being gritty and unnecessarily mean spirited. Fortunately you can always count on Disney to shake things up and make the experience a lot more wholesome. That is exactly the case with The Goddess of Spring. It’s a fun little adventure you can just enjoy without any worry. The main character is a bit iffy though.

The special starts with the goddess singing as her creatures make her a crown. She’s ready to have a good day but this is interrupted when Hades shows up and kidnaps her. She doesn’t really put up much of a fight and her creatures get bullied by the demons. After being in the Underworld for a while Hades is upset that the goddess isn’t enjoying the scenery. He decides to grant her one wish. She wants to go home so he compromises and says that she can be home for 6 months and at his place for the other 6 months. She agrees to these terms and heads back home for more singing and cheer.

It’s definitely a little disappointing to see her creatures back away so quickly when Hades shows up. What happened to standard loyalty and defending your friends when the going gets tough? Now the goddess knows that she can’t count on these people for beans when it really counts. She didn’t do much better herself though. She should have tried to fight since she has godly abilities. Then once she is in the Underworld she doesn’t even try to say anything until Hades asks her what’s up. She didn’t really have a whole lot of agency in this special and was way too passive the whole time.

Meanwhile Hades is carrying this film as he belts out song after song and hatches plans. It’s quite fortunate for the goddess that Hades was a very reasonable character in this special. He’s not portrayed as a good guy since he still did kidnap her, but at least he is portrayed as someone who actually cares what she thinks. Relenting to her going home for half a year was certainly a surprising compromise.

This special is part musical so there are a lot of songs. I can’t say that any of them were quite my style. It’s going for a certain kind of style to which I’m not really a fan. The songs are more loud than engaging without any nice beats to accompany them. The animation holds up pretty well though considering how old this is. The animations are very fluid with nice backgrounds and it all looks very consistent.

Overall, The Goddess of Spring is a nice enough story. I don’t think you’ll end up re watching this one for a while but there’s no reason not to check it out. It’s only about 5 minutes and if you are ever curious about the old legends then getting introduced to them by Disney is the best way to do it. You get to the heart of the story without all of the extra details.

Overall 5/10

The Hug Review


It’s time to look at a quick special known as The Hug. This was a pretty recent horror short from 2018 and it borrows from the 5 Nights at Freddy’s concept. What if there was an evil pizza place where the mascot goes around murdering people? In less than 5 minutes there is only so much that this special can do to show off the premise so you have to fill in the gaps yourself. There are definitely a lot of implications here not just for the worker but for the store in general.

The short has a kid celebrating his birthday party at a local pizza place. He finally won some ticket on one of the machines so he wants to have a shot performed for him by the animal robot. The store owner says the robot is out to lunch so the kid has to wait. The kid doesn’t listen and opens the curtain. The machine asks for a hug and it turns out to be a fatal one as the machine eats the kid. The pizza owner tries to investigate but gets scared off by the machine’s true face. That is ultimately how the special ends.

So…did the pizza owner know that the machine was evil? It’s pretty sketchy that they continue to power on the robot every day if that is the case. It also makes the owner a true accomplice. The owner’s phrasing here is also key as he said that the machine was eating. Machines don’t eat so that means the owner was feeding him something. We can only hope that he feeds it a steady diet of veggies and pizza but is that really the case? The owner was my favorite character on the surface as he seemed concerned and at least did try to help. It’s just that the more you think about it, the more likely it is that he is completely responsible for what happened. In that case it’s hard to like the guy.

The film makes the kid was unlikable as possible before he gets eaten. He disobeys the rules and just isn’t a very nice guy in general. It’s still pretty dark for the kid to get eaten like that though. Since the short ends so suddenly you can try to make the case that they got the kid out of it afterwards. I’m not sure how much weight that theory holds but the guests do outnumber the robot so perhaps they would be able to pull something like that off.

Overall, The Hug is definitely a fun little horror title. It reminds me of the classic Goosebumps adventures where the hero wouldn’t always win in the end. The film doesn’t last quite long enough for things to get too overly dark so it works out well enough. If you’re a big horror fan then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. It shows that you can do quite a lot in 4 minutes. The special introduces the characters, gives us some tension in the scenes, and even brings in a villain who has a very unique design. Be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!

Overall 6/10

The Hockey Champ Review


I’ve been reviewing quite a few Hockey games lately so it’s only fitting that I review a hockey short as well right? In this one Donald gets to show why he is a pro and honestly this is why he is the best of the original Disney characters. I like his confidence and the guy does have the skills to back up his tough talk.

His nephews have decided to get into the game of ice hockey so Donald agrees to show them some moves in a practice game. He is the current Hockey champ after all. Donald quickly beats the nephews and makes the game look easy but they aren’t too happy about that. They go for a rematch but this time Donald will be blindfolded. Can he still win?

The special is only a few minutes long of course so in describing the plot I’ve already described most of the special. Still, it’s a very fun one and one of the better Disney shorts if you ask me. It can still be hard to understand Donald at times but that’s when Disney’s striking animation comes into play. The characters are always so expressive that you can still get the meaning behind what they are saying at all times. Donald isn’t playing and while he rarely ever gets to have a happy ending, at least he always puts in a good effort no matter what.

The best scene of the special is definitely when Donald finally scores the goal and then multiplies the score by punching it back into the net over and over again. Now that’s some good style! He basically upgraded the game into something more like boxing which takes a lot of creativity. The nephews are reasonable as well of course. They realize that they are outmatched so they quickly decide to use some tricks to win. Anything clearly goes in this kind of battle so their gameplan was pretty sound. Next time Donald will certainly be ready for them though.

Overall, This was definitely one of the better Disney shorts. Donald really takes it to the next level and it’s a pretty intense one. A good chunk of the special is a fun chase scene with Donald and the nephews with the animators having a lot of fun with the effects and how crazy things can get. I do miss this retro style and bringing it back would be a good idea. If you haven’t seen this one yet then I recommend changing that as soon as you can.

Overall 7/10

Bone Bandit Review


It’s time for one of those really quick Disney shorts. In this one Pluto gets to take center stage as he has to protect his bones from a local gopher who is trying to steal them. Right away I think it’s safe to say that you will be on team Pluto. It is his bones after all so I don’t think there is really a debate on if they belong to him or not. Furthermore, I would argue that Pluto wasn’t even picking the fight. Most of the time it was just the little animal being naughty.

The ending is very important for a special like this because if Pluto were to lose then that just wouldn’t be satisfying ending. A good deal of the special also deals with these flowers that are on the field which Pluto is allergic to. This is meant to balance the fight a bit as otherwise Pluto could just step on the little guy and be done with it. Fortunately Pluto is able to adapt to the situation pretty quick so he’s always ready for what is about to happen next.

It’s a decent special, but definitely on the weaker side of things. It’s mainly just a slapstick fight between the two of them, but Pluto can’t hold his own special nearly as well as Mickey or Donald in that regard. Since Pluto can’t talk we don’t really get to see his reactions to what’s happening. He’s also a lot more innocent than the other characters so you’ll probably just feel bad for him. It’s a very old special so it’s not very mean spirited or anything like that, but at the same time you wouldn’t say that it’s all that fun either. It’s a short special that will just come and go without too much thinking on it.

As I mentioned the ending is definitely what helps it stay afloat since Pluto got to defend his turf. He also had a pretty good feat with the sneeze and the whole neighborhood blowing up at the end was pretty unexpected. I wonder if the little guy will ever appear again. On the wiki he is just referred to as a Gopher so the fact that he doesn’t have an actual name seems to hint that he never got to be a big character. I suppose they can’t all grow to be household names though.

The animation is definitely pretty good. I do miss the smooth hand drawn nature of these specials back before everything started going into CGI land. What’s wrong with a nice hand drawn adventure right? You can feel the care that goes into all of the scenes and the visuals also just age extremely well. You wouldn’t think that it’s been many decades since this short aired because it is animation that could hold its own against a lot of the modern cartoons. Some styles just age better than others and this is definitely one of them.

Overall, Bone Bandit is a cautionary tale to us all that you always have to look after your stuff. Watch out because there are burglars everywhere and taking them down is very difficult. Pluto protected his grounds though and showed us why Mickey trusts him with the house. I’d be down for a new Mickey Mouse film with Pluto showing up. I still don’t think Pluto is ready for his own movie, but as a supporting character he can definitely help make the experience more fun. If you haven’t seen this special yet then you should check it out since it’s so short. A shortened version of it is up on Youtube, but it seems to be heavily edited since it is even shorter than the version I saw. I’m not sure if that’s the way to go, but I suppose it should be pretty similar.

Overall 5/10

How To Play Football Review


It’s time to look at another Goofy short. This one is actually about Football which is always fun to see. You’d assume that this would automatically beat the Basketball one since I do prefer Football in general, but that wasn’t actually the case. The special is definitely still fun like the last one, but I thought that they just did a lot more with the Basketball concept. Maybe Basketball just makes for easier comedy than Football.

The basic plot is that two Football teams are about to face off. One of them only has a handful of fans left while the other one appears to be the fan favorite. Still, neither team is ready to call it quits so they both square down. Surprisingly the two teams are pretty evenly matched though and from there on they use their toon physics to gain as much ground as possible.

Naturally most of the humor here is in the fact that the characters can do just about anything on the field. This means that any player can tilt the balance of an entire match but on the flipside they can also be taken down by any other player as well. It’s a pretty short special so both teams are going full throttle from the start. The ending is also pretty emotional as the game goes down to the wire.

The animation is pretty solid as expected. It’s very smooth and so it works really well with the general physics. The animators are very creative here and I think that’s low-key one of the reasons why the old Disney animations were so good. It’s one thing to have good animators but you’ve also gotta know what to do with them. It’s all pretty inventive here like when one of the Goofy creatures manages to wrinkle up the whole Football field like a rug before scoring. It’s a good way of bringing the field to you instead of the other way around.

This special will definitely be over before you know it which speaks to the enjoyment factor of it. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and that’s definitely a plus of the short format. I don’t think there would have been enough substance here to last for a whole movie, but if it’s just a short then it manages to stay humorous without hitting the same story beats over and over again. I wonder if Goofy tackled more sports beyond Basketball and Football. It definitely makes sense to go with those 2 right away though, Baseball could make for another solid one. I suppose I’ll find out at some point if he did nay more.

Overall, I’m not sure if this special will actually teach you how to play Football, but it still makes for a fun experience. I think even casual Football fans will be able to follow the action here as it just covers the basics. It’s only a few minutes so there is only so much that the special can do on its own, but I think it succeeds in making for a fun time. It’s a good diversion and Goofy has actually done a much better job of giving us solid specials than I ever would have guessed.

Overall 6/10

Double Dribble Review


It’s time to look at a Goofy short. I haven’t seen a whole lot of these over the years as typically the specials are about Mickey or Donald. I admit that I assume Goofy’s specials would be the weakest since he definitely isn’t one of my favorite characters, but he’s actually not that bad here. In fact, the special is surprisingly real good and one of my favorites from these retro shorts that I’ve seen.

The plot of the special is all about a big basketball game that is about to start. The home team is heavily favored to win to the point where there is only one guy in the stands for the away team while the other one is packed. Both teams don’t have any real energy though but someone’s got to win. Additionally the blue (away) team has one player who may not be as tall as the rest but he’s got heart.

One interesting thing to note is how the blue team is actually about on par with the red one. I guess their fans didn’t want to pay the ticket prices of going to the away game, but it’s actually not because the team is bad as you may have expected. The game is within 1 point at the final seconds and that’s considering that the team was fielding a bunch of backups by this time. Both teams have basically identical players so this makes sense as well.

Even though the players start out with no motivation they gradually start to get into the game as the special goes on. This leads to a lot of fun tricks like guys appearing out of nowhere and even some crazy bodyslams. I guess even these players can feel that competitive spirit. The guys making the calls in the booth also did a tremendous job of keeping up with the plays on the field since it was all so fast. These guys definitely knew their stuff with the sport.

The animators also probably had a lot of fun here. The characters start out by using realistic basketball moves but by the end they’re using super speed, stretching abilities and all kinds of other techniques. As always Disney presents you with very smooth animations here so it all flows together really well. The fast paced nature of the animation fits perfectly.

Overall, Double Dribble is definitely a great special that I would recommend. It’s a lot of fun and doesn’t drag on. I also tend to enjoy specials that revolve around sports and what better one to show than a quick paced basketball game? If you haven’t seen this one yet then you should change that ASAP. It’s very short too so it’s not like it’ll take you all that much time to give it a whirl.

Overall 8/10

Team Sonic Racing Overdrive Review


It’s time to take a look at the 2 part segment Sega released. It’s roughly 10 minutes or a little shorter than that, but it’s a nice way to cross promote the game. I was lightly tempted to get the game day 1, but there are just so many good games coming out right now that it’s tough to know which ones to take the plunge on. Regardless, I do look forward to playing it some day. I imagine it will be quite solid just as this special is.

The plot is pretty straightforward. The various heroes and villains have entered a race where the winner will receive a large gold trophy. Team Sonic, Chaotix, Rose, and Dark are all entering the race. Only one team can win though and it quickly becomes clear that Shadow and Sonic are the front runners here. That being said, there are a lot of racers on the track and so anything can happen. Be sure to stay glued to the seat so you don’t miss a second of the action.

The animation is very smooth and this style is definitely good at energetic scenes like this one. In general it’s a nostalgic style and one that’s very “clean” You will always know what’s happening and the designs are simplistic and so they are able to go through a lot of movements very quickly. It’s always been one of the big strengths of this animation style and Overdrive puts it to good use. A whole show like this would be quite fun for sure. Although the characters don’t talk here you can still get a lot of their personalities instantly because of how well animated they are.

As always Shadow is definitely a stand out character here. He actually does really well while at the same time knowing when it’s best to finally put his abilities into motion. The other characters also have to deal with a lot of interference on the track. It puts all of their skills on the line. There’s certainly nothing negative about this special and so it’s pretty much ideal. Between this and the Sonic Mania shorts, it’ll be fun to see if Sega decides to keep them up. I remember at the big Sonic event they did say that it takes forever to animate these scenes but maybe if they bring more animators on board they would be able to make a whole show like this. I’ll certainly be ready if they do.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend checking this special out. Even if you aren’t planning on getting the game it’s fun to see the cast just hanging out and getting all competitive. It’s also a lot of fun for fans who grew up in the Adventure era as there are a bunch of references and remixed tunes from the old game. You’ll likely remember all of them even if you don’t know the exact names. It’s the little things like that which really help take Overdrive to the next level. Also, it’s super short so it’s not like it’ll take all that much time out of your day to check it out right?

Overall 7/10